Massachusetts reports 3,110 new coronavirus cases

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker

State House News Service

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker

By Frankie Rowley, Content Managing Editor

Massachusetts reported 3,110 new coronavirus cases Sunday, a sharp decline from the 8,542 new infections reported Saturday over a two day period, after no new data was released on New Year’s Day. The death toll rose to 105.

The state is seeing a surge in the number of deaths caused by COVID-19. The death total surged past the seven-day average of 58 for the third time this week on Sunday, with Massachusetts reporting 118 new deaths Wednesday and 81 new deaths Thursday.  

The recent spike in cases prompted Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh to roll back the city’s reopening Dec. 14. Boston will move out of phase three, step one and into phase two, step two. The new restrictions bring the closure of indoor spaces that had previously reopened, including movie theaters, gyms, museums, and indoor event spaces like meeting rooms. The city surpassed 1,000 coronavirus-related deaths Tuesday. 

The state reports two COVID-19 positivity rates—one with higher education testing and one without. The seven day test positivity rate without higher education sat at 9.28 percent on Sunday, compared to 7.32 percent this time last week. The rate that includes higher education testing sits at 8.60 percent. 

The state reported 2,291 total hospitalizations Sunday, compared to 2,156 this time last week. The rate at which hospitalizations are increasing is slowly declining. In past weeks, hospitalizations have grown by about 300 week over week.

Emerson reported no new positives out of just 82 new tests administered Monday, Dec. 21. The college’s COVID-19 dashboard has not been updated in nearly two weeks.

In late November to mid-December, Emerson reported 28 new positives, compared to 32 between early August and late November. 

Students remaining on campus through winter break are being tested on Tuesdays each week. Administrators told The Beacon fewer than 30 students remain on campus through the break. 

Emerson shifted from a manual data reporting process to an automatic one on Oct. 13. The decision followed a Beacon investigation that revealed a string of inaccuracies in the data reported by the college. 

The college’s dashboard is updated daily Monday through Friday. When it was first launched in August, the college opted for weekly updates before eventually shifting to twice weekly and then daily updates. Tabs for hospitalizations and the number of “invalid” results received by community members have since been removed from the dashboard after testing began in August. Invalid results are typically a result of user error and require re-testing. 

Administrators said in August the decision to remove hospitalizations was part of an effort to increase transparency, as the college was concerned it could not accurately track the metric. Invalid results were deemed “not valuable” data by “COVID Lead” Erik Muurisepp. 

The dashboard is not updated on weekends because Emerson’s testing site at Tufts Medical Center is closed on Saturdays and Sundays.